Online Education

Online Education

Identity Theft

Identity Theft
Identity Theft

Identity Theft

Bank of the Valley offers tips to avoid becoming a victim of Identity Theft.

  • Don't give your Social Security number or other personal credit information about yourself to anyone who calls you. Criminals use this information to open new charge accounts posing as you.
  • Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly online and asks for your personal information. It doesn’t matter how legitimate the e-mail or website may look. Only open e-mails that look like they are from people or organizations you know, and even then, be cautious if they look questionable. Be especially wary of fraudulent e-mails or websites that have typos or other obvious mistakes.
  • Don’t give out valuable personal information in response to unsolicited requests. Social Security numbers, financial account information and your driver’s license number are some of the details that should be kept confidential.
  • Tear up receipts, bank statements, and unused credit card offers before throwing them away. Criminals can collect bits of information about you by going through your trash.
  • Watch for missing mail and don't mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up. An identity thief may steal your mail and file a change of address form with your credit card company or the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Review your monthly accounts regularly for any unauthorized charges. Pay attention to billing cycles and account statements and contact your bank if you don’t receive a monthly bill or statement since identity thieves often divert account documentation.
  • Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy.
  • When conducting business online, the site that you are on is secure. 
  • Don't open e-mail from unknown sources.
  • Use virus detection software.
  • Choose PINs and Passwords that would be difficult to guess and avoid using easily identifiable information such as your mother's maiden name, birth dates, the last four digits of your social security number, or phone numbers. Protect your PINs and passwords and change them frequently.
  • Be careful about where and how you conduct financial transactions.  For example don’t use an unsecured Wi-Fi network because someone might be able to access the information that you are transmitting or viewing.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank, credit card companies, and the fraud units of the three credit reporting agencies immediately. The fraud unit numbers are: Trans Union (800) 680-7289, Experian (888) 397-3742, and Equifax (800) 525-6285. You may also contact the FTC's ID Theft Consumer Response Center toll-free at (877) IDTHEFT.

Here is the contact information for each bureau's fraud division:


P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374


P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013


P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634

If Your Credit or Debit or ATM Card Information is Stolen

  • Report the theft of this information to the card issuer as quickly as possible.
  • Cancel your account and open a new one. Review your billing statements carefully after the loss.

Mobile Banking Security Tips

Mobile Banking Security Tips
Mobile Banking Security Tips

Mobile Banking Security Tips

Be proactive in protecting the mobile device itself.

Depending on what security options are available on your device, create a "strong" password (consisting of unusual combinations of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols) or PIN (with random numbers instead of, say, 1234 or the last four digits of your Social Security number) and periodically change it.

Be careful about where and how you conduct transactions.

Don't use an unsecured Wi-Fi network, such as those found at coffee shops, because fraud artists might be able to access the information you are transmitting or viewing. Also, don't send account numbers or other sensitive information through regular e-mails or text messages because those are not necessarily secure.

Take additional precautions in case your device is lost or stolen.

Check with your wireless provider in advance to find out about features that enable you to remotely erase content or turn off access to your device or account if you lose your phone. Quickly contact your financial services providers to let them know about the loss or theft of your device. Notifying your bank quickly will help prevent or resolve problems with unauthorized transactions.

Research any application ("app") before downloading it.

Just because the name of an app resembles the name of the bank -- or of another company you're familiar with -- don't assume that it is the official one of the bank or company. It could be a fraudulent app designed to trick users into believing that the service is legitimate.

Be on guard against unsolicited e-mails or text messages appearing to link to a financial institution's Web site.

Those could be "phishing" messages containing some sort of urgent request (such as a warning that you need to "verify" bank account or other personal information) or an amazing offer (one that is "too good to be true") designed to lead you to a fake Web site controlled by thieves.


FDIC Consumer News. Winter 2012/2013. Safe Mobile Banking: Our Latest Tips for Protecting

Mobile Security Applications

In addition to the advice mentioned above it is a good idea to install a reputable mobile security application to help protect your mobile device from viruses and malware such as trojans, spyware, exploits, and fake apps. These mobile security applications may also be called anti–virus or anti–malware software and may be found on your device platform’s application store such as Google Play. Some applications even offer other features that allow you to locate a lost device or to remotely wipe a stolen device. You should be sure to research the mobile security application’s reputation, reliability, and rights before installation.

Overdraft Education

Overdraft Education
Overdraft Education

Overdraft Education

This document is meant to provide information to you about our overdraft processes, fees, products, and services to help you prevent unwanted overdraft expenses.

Posting Transactions to Your Checking Account

The bank posts the day's debits and credits to your account Monday through Friday excluding bank holidays. If we receive multiple transactions of the same type, the order we pay those transactions varies based on type. We will be consistent in how we do this each day.

Let's assume that you conduct many different types of transactions. Below is the order we would post the transactions to your account:

  1. Add all the deposits made to your account.

  2. Deduct: all ATM withdrawals from your account

  3. Deduct: all debit card transactions

  4. Deduct: all automatic electronic (ACH or Automated Clearing House) payments.

  5. Deduct: all checks; we deduct them lowest to highest dollar amount.

We pay as many items we can pay for you in each category to reduce the number of items that would potentially overdraw your account-helping you avoid fees.

Another Reminder...

Overdrafts only occur if you spend more than what you have available in your account. There are many convenient ways to access your account, and it can be easy to lose track of your balance.

For More Information, Please Contact Us!

Since it is difficult to explain every situation in detail, we would be happy to provide you with additional information at your request. Simply call one of your Customer Service Representatives at (888)414-4334 or stop by any of our branches and speak with a bank employee.

What Is An Overdraft?

An overdraft occurs when your account does not have enough money to cover a purchase that you made at a store via a check or debit card transaction or an online banking transaction. Overdrafts may also occur if you have authorized a bank or an insurance company to automatically deduct payments from your account. Sometimes it is hard to remember to deduct these items from your check register.

How Do Overdrafts Happen?

An overdraft happens, for example, when you...

  • Write a check

  • Withdraw money from an ATM

  • Make an automatic (ACH) payment

  • Use your ATM/debit card to make a purchase

...and you do not have enough money in your account, the bank has the choice to either pay or not pay the transaction.

  • If we pay the amount, you may be charged an overdraft fee of $30.00

  • If we return the item without paying it, you will be charged an NSF or non sufficient funds fee of $30.00

Sometimes the company or person to whom your wrote the check may charge you a returned check fee in addition to the fee we may charge.

Do We Always Authorize And Pay Overdrafts On Your Account?

We authorize and pay overdrafts on checks and automatic bill payments at our discretion.

What Are The Best Ways To Avoid Overdraft Or NSF Fees?

The best way to avoid overdraft and NSF fees is to manage your account so that you do not overdraw it. Here are some steps to help you.

  • Know how much money you have in your account by keeping your check register current.

  • Record all checks when you write them

  • Check your balance frequently-it may take some checks and payments a few days to clear.

  • Online Banking and mobile banking are excellent ways to check accounts 24/7 from home or your mobile device

  • Call in to one of our Customer Service Representatives during regular business hours

  • Review your account statements each month

  • Mistakes happen sometimes. If you do overdraw your account, deposit money into your account as soon as possible to cover the overdrawn amount plus any fees. This will help you avoid additional overdrafts and fees.

  • Good account management is the best way to protect your hard-earned money.

Are There Options To Help Avoid Overdrafts?

Yes there is! Below are the services we offer to help you avoid overdrafts.


You can ask us to link your deposit account (checking) to your savings, money market, or another checking account.

In case you overdraw your checking account, we automatically transfer funds from the linked accounts to cover the shortage assuming you have sufficient funds in the linked accounts.

The bank offers this service free of charge.

Ready Reserve Loan

You can apply for a Ready Reserve loan. This loan is unsecured and will automatically sweep funds into your account when you need it subject to credit availability.

This is subject to approval.

**Per Federal Regulation, there is a maximum of six (6) preauthorized or automatic transfers per cycle that can be made on a savings or money market account.

Cybersecurity Tips

Cybersecurity Tips
Cybersecurity Tips

Cybersecurity Tips

Cybersecurity Awareness Basics

Consumers increasingly rely on computers and the Internet — the “cyber” world — for everything from shopping and communicating to banking and bill-paying. But while the benefits of faster and more convenient cyber services for bank customers are clear, the risks posed by these services as well as the strategies for preventing or recovering from cyber-related crimes may not be as well-known by the average consumer and small business owner.

Common cyber-related crimes include identity theft, fraud, and scams. Identity theft involves a crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data to open fraudulent credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, withdraw funds from deposit accounts, or obtain new loans. A victim's losses may include not only out-of-pocket financial losses but also substantial costs to restore credit history and to correct erroneous information in their credit reports.

In addition to identity theft, every year millions of people are victims of fraud and scams, which often start with an e-mail, text message, or phone message that appears to be from a legitimate, trusted organization. The message typically asks consumers to verify or update personal information. Similarly, criminals create bogus websites for such things as credit repair services in the hopes that consumers will enter personal information.

If you think you are a victim of a fraud or scam, contact your state, local, or federal consumer protection agency. Also, a local law enforcement officer may be able to provide advice and assistance. By promptly reporting fraud, you improve your chances of recovering what you have lost and you help law enforcement. The agency you contact first may take action directly or refer you to another agency better positioned to protect you.

Violations of federal laws should be reported to the federal agency responsible for enforcement. Consumer complaints are used to document patterns of abuse, allowing the agency to take action against a company.

People who have no intention of delivering what is sold, who misrepresent items, send counterfeit goods or otherwise try to trick you out of your money are committing fraud. If you suspect fraud, there are some additional steps to take.

  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
  • If the fraud involved mail or an interstate delivery service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is illegal to use the mail to misrepresent or steal money.

How to Avoid Fraud & Scams 

There are numerous scams presented daily to consumers so you must always exercise caution when it comes to your personal and financial information. The following tips may help prevent you from becoming a fraud victim. 
  • Be aware of incoming e-mail or text messages that ask you to click on a link because the link may install malware that allows thieves to spy on your computer and gain access to your information
  • Be suspicious of any e-mail or phone requests to update or verify your personal information because a legitimate organization would not solicit updates in an unsecured manner for information it already has
  • Confirm a message is legitimate by contacting the sender (it is best to look up the sender’s contact information yourself instead of using contact information in the message)
  • Assume any offer that seems too good to be true, is probably a fraud
  • Be on guard against fraudulent checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, or electronic fund transfers sent to you with requests for you to wire back part of the money 
  • Be wary of unsolicited offers that require you to act fast
  • Check your security settings on social network sites. Make sure they block out people who you don’t want seeing your page
  • Research any “apps” before downloading and don’t assume an “app” is legitimate just because it resembles the name of your bank or other company you are familiar with
  • Be leery of any offers that pressure you to send funds quickly by wire transfer or involve another party who insists on secrecy
  • Beware of Disaster-Related Financial Scams. Con artists take advantage of people after catastrophic events by claiming to be from legitimate charitable organizations when, in fact, they are attempting to steal money or valuable personal information

Other Resources 

A Message to Our Business Customers on Corporate Account Takeover (CATO) and Business Email Compromise (BEC)

A Message to Our Business Customers on Corporate Account Takeover (CATO) and Business Email Compromise (BEC)
A Message to Our Business Customers on Corporate Account Takeover (CATO) and Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Corporate Account Takeover (CATO) and Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Corporate Account Takeover

Corporate Account Takeover occurs when cyber thieves gain unauthorized access to a business account - often through the theft of online credentials or by hijacking an online session - and initiate​ transactions, change contact information, and gather information on the account's history to commit other crimes.

Businesses of all types and sizes are attractive targets for cyber criminals as they traditionally carry higher balances than retail accounts. Employees often serve as entry points into the company's networks by unknowingly providing their access credentials through phishing sites or by downloading malware onto the system after clicking on malicious links or opening infected attachments. Employees and businesses of all sizes are targeted through phishing and other social engineering attacks in order to download and spread malware that will allow unauthorized access to financial accounts and other sensitive information. Fraudsters also target senior executives in Business Email Compromise scams in order to gain access to the executive's legitimate email account, impersonate them, and direct employees to conduct wire transfers or payment transactions on their behalf.


This diagram originated from a product that was created as part of a joint effort between the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS‐ISAC).

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

A variant of CATO is Business Email Compromise in which a legitimate business email account is compromised through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to impersonate an executive and conduct the unauthorized transfers of funds.  Losses associated with these frauds can be substantial and devastating to a business.